books for tween boys, books for boys, books for teen boys, ya books for boys

Best YA Books for Boys But Why Aren’t There More?

Best Young Adult Books for Teen Boys

“At an American Library Association conference in 2007, HarperCollins dressed five of its male young adult authors in blue baseball jerseys with our names on the back and sent us up to bat in a panel entitled “In the Clubhouse.” We were meant to demystify to the overwhelmingly female audience the testosterone code that would get teenage boys reading. Whereas boys used to lag behind girls in reading in the early grades, statistics show, they soon caught up. Not anymore.

We guys had mixed feelings about the game plan: boys’ aversion to reading, let alone to novels, has been worsening for years. But while this certainly posed a problem for us male writers, we felt that we were being treated as a sideshow.

And so we turned from men into boys. Though we ranged in age and style from then 30-­something Kenneth Oppel, a writer of fantasies about ancient beasts (“Darkwing”), to Walter Dean Myers, the 70-­something master of street novels (“Monster”), along with Chris Crutcher (“Whale Talk”) and Terry Trueman (“Stuck in Neutral”), we easily slipped into a cohesive pack. We became stereotypes, smart-aleck teammates — and we were very much on the defensive. It was Us vs. Them.”

NY Times article, Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope? by Robert Lipsyte, August 19, 2011

The Panelists’ Books:

Books Mentioned in Article:

“Many early Y.A. writers were women who wrote well about both genders, like the queen of coming-­of-­age lit, Judy Blume (“Forever”). Others wrote under the guise of asexual initials: S. E. Hinton (“The Outsiders”) and M. E. Kerr (“Gentlehands”). The better male writers also wrote about both boys and girls: John Donovan (“I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip”), Paul Zindel (“The Pigman”) and Robert Cormier, my hero in the field and author of the 1974 classic, “The Chocolate War.” To me, that book exemplifies what’s currently missing: here was a tale of fascistic adults and teenage bullying at a Catholic boys high school, and, controversially and crucially, it lacked a redemptive resolution, one of Cormier’s trademarks.”


What do you think is the reason why boys don’t read as much? Do you think YA (Young Adult) books skew overwhelmingly to girls? What YA books would you recommend for boys?

p.s. I’m adding Jordan Sonnenblick


To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I do think YA skews to girls. Just have to look at the covers in your local bookstore. Lots of pretty, lots of romance. The guys I know that read as boys were reading fantasy (LOTR, Dragonlance), Star Wars books, Star Trek books, and other stuff not written for their age specifically.

    I do believe the best first example of reading to boys should be their father being a reader. If they don’t have that, then the mother reading more than romance (because a young boy will scoff at that), and then a good teacher. We’ve all had teachers that didn’t do much beyond presenting the required reading for the year, but a good one, a great one, will find angles to relate those required stories to the kids in their classroom.

    But it definitely comes down to parents first. Just like it does about school and studying and learning being important in general. I don’t think that happens as much as it used to.

  2. Corina Vacco

    Check out the book MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN, which comes out June 11, 2013 with Random House. It won the 30th Annual Delacorte Prize for a First YA Novel.

    “We live by the best landfill ever. I flipped my dirt bike there once. Plus I’ve got a sketchbook full of uranium monsters. My friend Cornpup likes to show off the bumps on his back for a dollar. And Charlie, he’ll drink red creek water on a dare.”

    Rocked by his father’s recent death and his mother’s sudden compulsion to overeat, Jason lashes out by breaking into the abandoned mills and factories that plague his run-down town. Always by his side are his two best friends, Charlie, a fearless thrill junkie, and Cornpup, a geek inventor whose back is covered with cysts. The boys rage against the noxious pollution that suffocates their town and despise those responsible for it; at the same time, they embrace the danger of their industrial wasteland and boast about living on the edge.

    Then one night the boys vandalize one of the mills. Jason makes a costly mistake—and unwittingly becomes a catalyst for change. In a town like his, change should be a good thing. There’s one problem: change is what Jason fears most of all.

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